Reporter’s notebook

  • Third round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants
  • ATD gives its top honor to Ohio college
  • Getting the word out
  • More data needed on students with disabilities in SSS program

Third round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants

Fifteen community colleges will receive a total of $50 million in federal grants to expand education and training for good-paying jobs in fields such healthcare, advanced manufacturing, information technology, clean energy and education.

The funding is part of the third round of awards through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants Program (SCCTG), which focused on proposals to help people in marginalized and underrepresented populations overcome barriers to career and technical education programs they need to connect with quality jobs.

“Community colleges offer accessibility and affordability that make them great options for people in marginalized and underrepresented communities to learn the skills needed to succeed in the workforce,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said in a release.

The colleges and the grant amount (rounded up) are below.

Over the first three rounds of the SCCTG program, DOL has awarded $135 million to 39 individual community colleges and consortia of colleges.

ATD gives its top honor to Ohio college

Achieving the Dream (ATD) has awarded Ohio’s Sinclair Community College the 2023 Leah Meyer Austin Award, its highest recognition given to a college in the ATD network with effective practices and strategies that have led to increases in student outcomes and reductions in equity gaps.

ATD noted that Sinclair has increased four-year completion from 22% to 30% over a four-year period. For Black students, four-year completion increased from 15% to 22%. For adult students aged 24 and older, a quarter of whom are Black, four-year completion nearly doubled, from 26% to 47%.

ATD observed that Sinclair kept the completion momentum for students through the disruption of the Covid pandemic. The announcement was made at ATD’s annual DREAM conference last week in Chicago.

Getting the word out

Pima Community College (PCC) is sharing resources to help current and prospective students affected by the passage of Proposition 308, which allows qualifying non-citizen Arizona high school graduates to receive in-state tuition at Arizona’s community colleges.

Information about Proposition 308, including answers to FAQs, are on the college’s Proposition 308–Welcome Students and the Community web page. In addition, links to Proposition 308 are on the college’s homepage.

“The passage of Proposition 308 is a positive development for our DACA students and others who do not have lawful immigration status, as well as their families, friends and classmates,” Chancellor Lee D. Lambert said in a release. “By granting in-state tuition to these students, we are supporting our core values of diversity, equity and inclusion in a tangible way that will benefit all Arizonans.”

PCC said it also will do community outreach to ensure that prospective students and their families are aware of the new law.

More data needed on students with disabilities in SSS program

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is recommending that the U.S. Education Department (ED) collect more data on college students with disabilities who are in its Student Support Services (SSS) program, one of eight federal TRIO grant programs that promote achievement in postsecondary education among disadvantaged students, to help assess how well the program is serving those students.

While none of the TRIO programs focuses exclusively on students with disabilities, the Higher Education Act states that part of the program design for the SSS program is to “foster an institutional climate supportive of students with disabilities,” GAO says in a new report.

ED collects information about whether SSS participants meet eligibility criteria, but it does not collect data on the disability status of each SSS participant, the agency says. In addition, ED periodically reports on the performance of SSS, but it does not include performance information for participants with disabilities.

The TRIO programs receive about $1 billion annually in federal funding and serve about 800,000 disadvantaged students.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.